April 22, 2016 is the 46th annual Earth Day. Read our top tips for inspiration to start healthy habits that are good for you AND the environment!
1. Plant a garden
Why it’s good for you: Chances are you’ll eat more fruits and veggies if you’ve put in the effort to grow your own. A garden is an excellent way to connect with nature and your food. For children in particular, it’s been shown that kids who grow their own veggies, fruits and herbs are more likely to eat and enjoy them. Not to mention gardening can help you save money on groceries too.
Why it’s good for the earth: Growing food at home means it doesn’t have to travel very far to get on your plate, cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. Outdoor gardens are also helpful for attracting important insects like bees. You don’t need a big plot of land to grow fruit, veggies and herbs, a little space in your window sill, balcony or patio will do! Here’s how to get started.
2. Ride your bike
Why it’s good for you: Frustrating traffic jams dissolve from your life when you opt for your bike over the car. You’ll find commuting by bike reduces stress and it’s an excellent way to add physical activity to your day. When you meet the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week, you reduce your risk of chronic disease and improve your overall health.
Why it’s good for the earth: Riding your bike is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint; Less motor vehicles on the road means less emissions and cleaner air. Read how biking is easier than you think.
3. Buy local
Why it’s good for you: Buying locally can introduce you to how your food is grown, raised and processed. Also, food that’s in season is more abundant and can be less expensive, saving you money. Look for foods produced in BC when at the grocery store or market. Check out these tips for help.
Why it’s good for the earth: While not as close as your own backyard, food from local farmers and growers travels far less of a distance than those imported. Buying BC products also builds home-grown business and protects local farmland. Find out what’s in season.
4. Use public transit
Why it’s good for you: Studies (like this one) show that taking transit improves your physical activity level. Walking to and from bus and train stops, or taking the stairs at terminals can quickly add up! If you have a long commute, try combining cycling part way with public transit. Other bonuses of taking the bus is you don’t have to worry about parking and you save you money on gas. Read more.
Why it’s good for the earth: As with biking, taking the bus can help lower your carbon footprint. According to BC Transit, a full city bus takes 40 vehicles off the road and, in one year, saves 10,646 litres of fuel and 25 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more.
5. Get outside
Why it’s good for you: Whether out walking, hiking, kayaking, or playing hide and seek at a community park, the health benefits of being in nature are tremendous. To name a few; less stress, better mood, improved quality of sleep, and overall feeling of well-being.
Why it’s good for the earth: Gazing out over a calm, gleaming lake atop the hill you just climbed will give you a lot of appreciation and respect for the environment. When you observe nature’s beauty first-hand it’s hard not to love, value and want to protect it. Read the Canadian Parks Council’s report for more on connecting with nature.
So there you have it… Five ways you can take part in Earth Day while also improving your health. Do you have other ideas? We’d love to hear them. Leave us a comment below.